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Apartment Metering #117449 06/13/04 09:48 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,632
Admin Offline OP
Got a call for a partial power loss in an apartment... Met the landlord & he said he'd been trying to figure it out with the tenant for 2 days! Each unit has 2 circuits fed directly from this metering unit... Tenant told me he'd inadvertantly ran his A/C unit & hairdryer at the same time... Followed the dead wire back to the metering & found it on a tripped circuit for another unit!... This might explain the tenant telling me he runs his A/C all day & his power bill is usually only about $20/month! .. (... not anymore! [Linked Image] )

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Re: Apartment Metering #117450 06/14/04 08:20 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline
Oooh, Zinzco 4 or 5 packs as Branch distribution. I don't think these were meant for this. 1 - 15A, and 1 - 20A to each unit! "ran his A/C unit & hairdryer at the same time" Do they have a revolving door to access this panel to turn stuff back on when it trips? In an area that would require AC, I imagine this panel sees a lot of action. When I see things like this, I always amp the main. I like seeing big numbers on my meter. What size is the Main for this building? On a hot day it probably almost max's out! All of those 15's and 20's add up.

I am trying to picture the building... 4 stories, old converted hotel maybe, small units, lots of small kitchen appliances in each unit? Outside of the Fill and loose ground for some of the circuits, this is a badly designed panel, and branch circuit set up from the start. Dare I say it, doomed for eventual failure.

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Re: Apartment Metering #117451 06/14/04 06:20 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
DougW Offline
I can't help but think that someone who had a little knowledge, a flashlight, and a screwdriver might have done a little "midnight rewiring" to save themselves some $$$ by switching the circuit to another unit...

Re: Apartment Metering #117452 06/15/04 02:29 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,435
Lostazhell Offline
Believe it or not, this is actually a 5 minute walk from the beach in San Diego... (Point Loma). The units look like they were motel rooms at one time, but the landlord states otherwise & that its been family owned from when it was built in 1955. 225A 240V 1 phase main fuses keep this ordeal under control... (FYI, main feeders were only carrying about 70A/83A when I was there, 3 vacants w/ meters booted by SDG&E) This cabinet is kept locked by the landlord as he found kids were storing their toys in here! [Linked Image] I commend him for at least taking that step! [Linked Image] He says he has to open it about once or twice a week..
As for your picture of the building, you're not too far off... Did you ever see the movie "Slums of Beverly Hills"? [Linked Image] this place is similar... 2 story, "Looks" like a previous motel, small units, microwaves, window A/C units.... pool in the center of everything, running off the house meter in this mess w/ "55A" 2 pole breaker feeding the subpanel... (This is also feeding a laundry room)
Doomed for eventual failure? If everyone turns their microwave & A/C on at once..., I'll be glad I live 100 miles from this place [Linked Image]

Doug, Its entirely possible, but more than likely it was one of the 4 previous electricians the landloreds had in here moving things around...(The overpacked conduits seen here are products of them according to the landlord! [Linked Image] )


Re: Apartment Metering #117453 06/15/04 07:45 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline
In my last post I was going to say "low rent", but did not want to offend anyone. I figured "Residential Hotel", and it sounds like I hit the mark. And there is one word synonomous with "Residential Hotel", FIRE! I have been to a few of these things recently, as my Employer has us doing "charity work" essentially, for a non-profit community organization that has a City mandate to assume management of a few of the more dangerous and mis-managed ones. San Francisco has started using these as homeless shelters! A bad policy, as these buildings are in horrifing shape!

Here's one example:

One of these buildings had a 200A 240 service put in 1945 with 180A and 175A on each leg! For a building wired in 1932 with Knob and Tube. The solution, (not my choice) was to eliminate/outlaw space heaters, and cooking in the building! So far we have re wired most of this, When money is available. And, do periodic load monitoring, (Now about 85A) until we can get the service up-graded. (hopefully by winter, as I'm not sure how long they can continue to police the appliance load!)

On another note Randy: (Noticing that you're in California too.)What do you think about our new state Certification? Right now, according to this... There are only 4000 Electricians in the whole State! And only six months left!

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Re: Apartment Metering #117454 06/15/04 04:30 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,286
electure Offline
Oh, Boy e57!!
You've sure hit a point with me!!
I'm going to bring up our "little electrician shortage problem" on the General Discussion Area.

Re: Apartment Metering #117455 06/15/04 09:48 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,435
Lostazhell Offline
My company has already made the appointments for all our techs to do the test & they're paying for it [Linked Image] I'm up in the beginning of August..
One thing I'm curious about is if this covers all the $500 or less "handymen" out there??



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